Dan DeChellis

The Dirigibles Between Similarities

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Recorded at a time and location unspecified, The Dirigibles Between Similarities is a very nice session between pianist Dan DeChellis and drummer Jeff Arnal. The result of a six-month creative process, this music engages the listener to participate emotionally in its unfolding. The nine free improvisations keep some ties with the jazz realm, although they remain hard to pinpoint. It may be in the subtle swing in DeChellis' fingers (Bud Powell? A touch of Monk?) or in Arnal's occasional three-legged walloping. The fact is that they create music that retains elements of harmony and melody and the tension-and-release energy scheme of '70s free jazz, while not limiting it to either or both. Avoiding power or virtuosity for the sake of it and abstraction for the sake of it, they manage to hit bull's eye by avoiding to aim at anything in particular except speaking to both heart and brain. "Salt/Pepper to Taste" is a wonderful free improv piece that stays within the boundaries of the traditional piano/drums duet, but gives you that special extra that makes you want to stand up and clap after the final hammered chords. Earlier in the set, Arnal experiments with more textural percussion, playing with mixed results. This CD does not redefine the free improv genre, but it delivers a very enjoyable moment for the initiated.

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